Even with fewer cars on the road with less people commuting, New Jersey roads are only becoming more hazardous to drivers. As of October 2021, New Jersey State Police report that there are already more fatal car accidents, pedestrian deaths and cyclist deaths in 2021 than all of 2020, an almost 13% increase. It’s never been a better time for New Jersey’s new Safe Passing Law designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
What is New Jersey’s Safe Passing Law?
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a new bill into law in August 2021 that now requires motorists to safely pass pedestrians as well as people on bicycles, scooters and electric wheelchairs. The Safe Passing Law is similar to the law that requires motorists to move over a lane and give emergency and police vehicles and personnel a safe space along the side of the road. In this case, drivers are required to move over a lane or give four feet of space between the car and the person being passed. If the driver can’t move over, they must slow down to no more than 25 MPH.
Drivers who fail to comply with the law face fines up to $100. If a driver fails to pass safely and causes an accident with bodily injury, the driver could face fines up to $500, 2 points on their license as well as additional liabilities for the personal injury caused to others.
This law is designed to protect those most vulnerable when using the roadways including pedestrians, especially those who are forced to walk down rural roads or those without sidewalks. The law also protects those with mobility issues who may use a motorized scooter or electric wheelchair to get around. And, the law firmly states that drivers must share the road with cyclists.
Liability for Pedestrian and Cycling Accidents
New Jersey’s new Safe Passing Law offers additional protections to pedestrians and cyclists. Much of the time, drivers are found to be at least partially liable if they hit a pedestrian or cyclist and this new law will help reinforce the duty of care drivers need to show to all when using the road. Causes of pedestrian and bicycle accidents include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to abide by traffic laws and signage
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
If a pedestrian is legally crossing the road or a cyclist was legally operating a bike, the driver is almost always at-fault. In the event they were not exercising reasonable care, the driver could still be found to be partially at-fault in the accident.
Compensation After Being Struck By a Car
New Jersey and New York are both no-fault insurance states. In these states, all motor vehicle owners are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in order to register a vehicle. In a pedestrian or cycling accident, the primary insurer to cover your medical bills would be your own PIP coverage. Even though your car was not involved in the accident, your auto insurance is the primary insurer.
However, these types of accidents often cause severe injuries which can lead to several challenges:
- PIP coverage and its limitations may not come close to covering the medical bills associated with your injuries.
- Some injured victims may not have PIP coverage
- Your insurer may be disputing your injuries or your account of the accident.
In any of these scenarios, your best course of action is to consult with an experienced, successful New Jersey personal injury lawyer, like Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law. Our attorneys will listen to your case and can advise you of your options during a free legal consultation.
Help with An Injury Claim
At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, our compassionate personal injury lawyers have deep experience with pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle accident claims. We put our clients’ well-being and quality of life first as we pursue the maximum compensation for your recovery.
We have offices across New Jersey -- from Tom’s River to Trenton to Jersey City as well as New York and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Contact us today for a free legal review.